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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Can Randolph Caldecott Win the Newbery Medal?


If I’ve heard this once this year, I’ve heard it a dozen times: It’s a weak year for nonfiction.  Actually, this isn’t really true.  It’s an average year for nonfiction, but it seems weaker because (a) last year was so unbelievably awesome and (b) the strong nonfiction this year isn’t the kind that tends to [...]

National Book Award


Tonight, the winner of the National Book Award will be announced.  While I was disappointed that the longlist did not include more genre/audience diversity–Are 9 of the top 10 books for children in any given year really prose novels?–I must say this is one of the best shortlists in recent memory.  There really isn’t a head-scratcher [...]

November Nominations

Okay, it’s time for us (and the real Newbery committee) to submit two more nominations for the month of November.  You’ll remember that my October strategy was to simply nominate the three best books.  If, since that time, I have come to believe that another one or two books have genuinely supplanted one of those [...]



JINX by Sage Blackwood is another January publication that has waited patiently for some discussion.  This one scores high for me in all the criteria, and yet I find myself sort of lukewarm about it as a Newbery hopeful, and I’m not exactly sure why.  It does have a Lloyd Alexander/Diana Wynne Jones vibe to it–which [...]

One Came Home


ONE CAME HOME by Amy Timberlake came out way back in January and has waited patiently for some attention on this blog.  It falls into a subgenre that I think on the whole is overrated and overrepresented: Spunky/Feisty/Quirky Girl with a Southern/Country/Folksy Voice and a Dead/Missing/Absent Mother (or in this case Sister).  When it’s done [...]

Counting By 7s


I’LL BE THERE by Holly Goldberg Sloan was always on my list of books to read because of the interesting plot summary and the appealing cover art but I never got around to it, so I had to change that this time around when her second book, COUNTING BY 7s, racked up even more starred [...]

What the [Very Bad Swearword] Is a Children’s Book Anyway?


A couple years ago, Neil Gaiman delivered the Zena Sutherland Lecture which was reprinted in the Horn Book with this title.  Gaiman examined this question by considering his three works in progress.  Incidentally, they were all published this year: CHU’S DAY (a picture book), FORTUNATELY, THE MILK (a beginning chapter book), and THE OCEAN AT [...]

Revisiting Sequels: Larson, Farmer, Gantos


We’ve already discussed P.S. BE ELEVEN and AL CAPONE DOES MY HOMEWORK, but there is also a further trio of Newbery sequels to consider this year: HATTIE EVER AFTER, THE LORD OF OPIUM, and FROM NORVELT TO NOWHERE. I never read HATTIE BIG SKY because it didn’t have much buzz going into the YMAs and [...]

Getting Real

I’m as happy as the next person to enthusiastically recommend THE REAL BOY to adults and children for pleasure reading, but like Nina I have grave reservations about it as a Newbery book.  I’m hesitant to follow her mixed review with one of my own, especially because not many people have spoken up in favor [...]

Looking Back: 2005


Mark Flowers has an interesting series on his blog, Crossreferencing, in which he revisits the Printz choices from previous years to see whether he agrees with them or not.  He’s done 2000-2003 so far.  It’s a fun exercise, and while I don’t have the stamina to start the same thing here, I’m going to revisit [...]